Re: grief in the dementia patient

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question Re: grief in the dementia patient

Quite a regular
From: Rowlett
Posts: 56
Hi Liz - Sorry for what you are having to go through with your mother - dealing with a person who is angry and has dementia is hard enough but when it's your parent, it's 10 times harder, I think!
To begin with, why was your mother hospitalized? Was she prescribed any medications that might be contributing to her agitation/anger? Being hospitalized, however, usually increases a person's anxiety especially when they also have dementia - confusion, agitation, fear are usually experienced during a hospital stay. Is your mother taking any medications for a dementia such as Alzheimer's disease and if so, has she been given those meds while at the hospital? I know I'm asking more questions than offering answers to how to deal with her anger, but I'm wondering if any of these issues might be contributing to her emotional state right now.

Regarding your mother's fixation on going home - that's quite common when a person has dementia. She may continue to perseverate on going home once she is transferred to a facility. One way that might be helpful to calm her when she is insisting on going home is to say something simple like, "We would want you to be able to go home too but you have to get better (or stronger or healthier - you pick the term) first. So we're going to find the best nurses/doctors to help you get stronger." Oftentimes the person with dementia will forget what you said 10 minutes later and will ask again. For many persons with dementia this type of response works well because you are reassuring her at that moment - letting her know that you care and understand her concerns - and then try to change the subject - sometime this works, sometimes not. On days when your mother is really more agitated, you may want to keep your visits shorter or not even visit on that day, if you find that she is really focusing her anger on you. Are there any other family members that can visit too? Reminding her that some friend or family member will be coming to visit soon can give her something else to look forward to. For your own sake, when your mother is calling often during the day, I would let the call go to the answering machine and then call a bit later if it's not a real emergency.

I think that you've come up with some great ways to help keep your mother busy at the hospital - when she moves to a facility you may want to bring photos and engage her in putting together a little photo album that she can keep on her table - it's a good way for staff to know who your mother is and was, so that they can relate to her better. If your mother is physically able, the staff at the facility will probably try to engage her in some simple activities, which will also help her focus on something other than going home.

Again, it would be good to check what medications they have your mother on now and for what to see if any of these meds might be raising her anxiety.

Last but not least, please take care of yourself during this time and let us know how you both are doing - especially as the holidays are approaching . . . please let us know if we can help with any issue during this time too!
Barb (4Hope)

Posted on 2009/11/18 10:04

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